Revealed: the importance of Dubai to Middle East tourism

Dubai's international tourism receipts make up nearly a third of the Middle East total in 2017 - report
Revealed: the importance of Dubai to Middle East tourism
By Sam Bridge
Tue 28 Aug 2018 02:09 PM

Dubai's international tourism receipts reached AED77.5 billion ($21.1 billion) last year, making up nearly a third of the Middle East total, according to a new report.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO) latest annual report showed that Dubai receipts represented 31.1 percent of the total in the Middle East in 2017, and were 8 percent higher than the previous year.

The report said the Middle East saw a total of 58.1 million visitors last year, up by 4.6 percent.

Globally, the UNWTO report showed that international tourist arrivals reached a total of 1,323 million in 2017, 84 million more than the previous year and a new record.

The sector has now seen uninterrupted growth in arrivals for eight straight years. 2017’s growth was the highest since 2010, led by the regions of Europe and Africa, which received increases in arrivals of 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

International tourism receipts increased by 5 percent in 2017. In addition to the $1.3 trillion in receipts that destinations earned, international tourism generated another $240 billion from international passenger transport taken by non-residents.

This raised total tourism exports to $1.6 trillion, or $4 billion a day, which corresponds to 7 percent of the world’s exports.

The report said the 2017 results were driven by sustained travel demand for destinations across all world regions, including a firm recovery by those that have suffered from security challenges in recent years.

It added that China continues to lead global outbound travel, having spent $258 billion on international tourism in 2017. This is almost one-fifth of the world’s total tourism spending in 2017, which stood at $1.3 trillion, some $94 billion more than in 2016.

Among the top markets and destinations in the world, in 2017 Spain rose to become the world’s second most-visited destination in terms of international arrivals, after France.

Japan entered the top ten in tourism earnings in tenth place after six straight years of double-digit growth. The Russian Federation re-entered the top ten of world spenders at eighth place.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Dubai welcomed a record 8.10 million international overnight tourists during the first six months of 2018.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said the emirate’s tourism sector was now worth AED109 billion ($29.6 billion) a year as at the end of 2017.

Top source markets continued to witness stable year-on-year performances in the first half of 2018, with India, Saudi Arabia and the UK retaining their top three positions when compared to the same period last year.

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